U.S. Federal Trade Commission chief Julie Brill will headline the roster of experts speaking at the Vermont leg of a national tour focused on personal cybersecurity.
Called “STOP. THINK. CONNECT. Two Steps Ahead: Protect Your Digital Life,” the event will be hosted by Norwich University on Monday, Sept. 22 from 9 to 11 a.m. in the university’s Milano Ballroom, and is sponsored by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA).
Members of the public are invited to register for the free workshop online at: https://twostepsvermont.eventbrite.com.
This event, put on by NCSA, a non-profit public-private partnership focused on helping all digital citizens stay safer and more secure online, is free and open to the public.
The stop is part of a 10-city tour to help consumers understand best practices to improve safety and security when using the internet and to raise awareness about activating security features available on many of the internet’s most popular sites.
The event kicks off with opening remarks by FTC Commissioner Brill, followed by hands-on demonstrations showing participants how to step up their security on sites like Google, Facebook, Microsoft and LinkedIn.
The event also includes a panel discussion with representatives from the Better Business Bureau and Norwich University and demonstrations by staff from Norwich University’s nationally recognized Center for Advanced Computing and Digital Forensics.
The event is timely, given many recent news accounts about security breaches at large U.S. retailers leading to the theft of consumer credit card data, the theft of nude celebrity photos from their Apple iCloud accounts, and widespread internet security vulnerabilities, such as the Heartbleed bug.
Bad actors in the internet space have only been aided and abetted by unwitting consumers, particularly in the area of good password practices. A case in point: “123456” and “password” have long been the top passwords in use.
A Pew Research Center study indicated that last year 21% of internet users 18 years and older have had their social networking, email or other online account compromised. Only 23% of those surveyed felt their accounts were highly secure.
As a result, a growing number of internet sites are adding new security features that can help consumers boost security. Variously called two-step verification, login approvals, or multi-factor authentication, such features use a variety of methods, including text messages to a user’s smart phone or random one-time use password generators, to allow only authorized people to access an account.
Cybersecurity experts still advise consumers to choose long, strong and unique passwords.
“Making use of available security precautions, like the emerging account security tools where available, should be a starting point for staying safe online,” says NCSA Executive Director Michael Kaiser.
“Utilizing all available security measures and understanding the consequences of actions and behaviors online is the key message underlying the ‘STOP. THINK. CONNECT.’ campaign.”
Previewing her speaking tour message, FTC Commissioner Julie Brill says, “The recent string of security breaches, which involve the release of sensitive information on a massive scale, illustrates why data security is a consumer protection priority for the FTC.”
“Our enforcement actions hold companies accountable for providing reasonable security. We also work hard to educate companies and consumers about how they can protect consumer data,” she says. “I am looking forward to discussing these efforts on September 22.”
To learn more about internet safety and how to improve the security of your online accounts, visit www.stopthinkconnect.org/twostepsahead.